Award winning graphic designer and author Marty Neumeier said brands cannot develop in isolation; they are the result of thousands of people interacting over a long period of time.
In essence, it takes a village to build a brand, and Neumeier’s conclusion certainly holds water here.
The Pickens Sentinel has rested on local newsstands and has been unfurled on the breakfast tables of Pickens County for over a century.
It has seen a variety of alterations, weekly features, editors and staff writers, but the banner has remained and so too has its readership.
A stable brand offers more than reliability; it offers a promise and an assurance of quality.
Our editor, Lonnie Adamson, has worked hard over the last 12 months to deliver a consistent product and has placed each staff writer in the appropriate position to ensure the success of the subsequent publication.
Breaking news and weekly features have been established and assigned to the most capable, while channels of social media have been launched to further connect this office with its readership.
A strong brand must possess a particular set of criteria that includes relevancy, consistency, proper positioning, credibility, uniqueness and appeal, and the newspaper business is no different, it is steered by capitalism, supply and demand.
We have resurrected old features at the request of our readers, and we have created new ones to further satisfy their appeal. We include artwork on the front page to catch the eye of the passerby, and we position a ‘snappy’ headline to lure the reader.
In his book Confessions of an Advertising Man, David Ogilvy said, “On average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the copy.”
But he also said the headline is a telegram that aids the reader’s decision on whether or not to read the copy, and if your brand lacks quality content beyond the headline, the sum of its remaining criteria will suffer.
But there is one feature capable of sustaining a brand through the most dire of circumstances.
According to author Sally Hogshead, there are seven triggers to persuasion and captivation including lust, mystique, alarm, prestige, power, vice, and trust, but it is trust that inspires our loyalty to reliable options.
An effective brand understands this concept and can fend off any competitor based on this relationship with its consumers.
Take into consideration, the Pepsi Challenge, in spite of more Americans leaning towards the taste of Pepsi; Coca-Cola has remained at the forefront of the market.
Why? It is because of trust.
The Coca-Cola brand has a long and storied history tied to its consumers and because of their tenure in the market and seasonal advertising, the brand has developed a level of trust that is capable of overcoming such market mishaps as “New Coke” and the “Pepsi Challenge”.
A brand’s trust can only be ascertained if it has exhibited such attributes as relevancy, consistency, proper positioning, credibility, uniqueness, and appeal, and once a brand’s trust has been established, it is nearly insurmountable.
How many of you remember the ideological disaster of the XFL?
In 2001, professional wrestling promoter Vince McMahon attempted to create an alternative to the trusted brand of the National Football League.
Hogshead observed, “We order the same dish in a restaurant over and over not because it’s surprising, but the opposite: We know we love it. Once we know what to except from a brand, they have already done most of the heavy lifting for us.”
McMahon’s ill-fated attempt at battling the NFL and the trust it earned through years of dependability and a quality product resulted in an abrupt end to his experiment.
The XFL lasted just one season and should serve as a testament to both existing brands and those still in development that trust is a culmination of factors earned through years of quality service and relevant content.
Neumeier’s view on trust exemplifies the NFL’s stranglehold on the market and the error in McMahon’s judgment to form an opposing brand.
He said, “Trust is the ultimate shortcut to a buying decision, and the bedrock of modern branding.”
The Pickens Sentinel has become a community’s brand, and much like many others trusted for their level of tenure and reliability, it has withstood an array of obstacles and a century of change to remain the prominent fixture of media required by its readers.